The phrase, “Thanks for your service,” was heard frequently Saturday morning as city leaders, elected officials, veterans and their families gathered at Oakley’s Civic Center Park to celebrate Memorial Day.
“It’s all about sacrifice,” said Mayor Claire Alaura in her opening remarks. “Not just those in the service, but also their families — their loved ones — who bear the burden of serving their country.”
Alaura was joined on the dais by city councilmembers Randy Pope, Doug Hardcastle, Kevin Romick and Sue Higgins.
Opening under sunny skies with a color guard from the Heritage High School JROTC program, the national anthem was sung by the Freedom High School choir. A wreath was presented in honor of the fallen from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and the War on Terror, as Pastor Bob Roche offered a prayer.
In her address, the mayor also noted the attendance of representatives of the Veterans of Oakley organization, and its efforts to raise funds for the Oakley Veterans Memorial through its brick-donation program, and other charitable efforts.
“I’m happy that we set aside this special day,” said County Supervisor Diane Burgis. “But it shouldn’t be just one day, but every day that we say, ‘Thanks for your service.’”
State Assemblymember Jim Frazier delivered a short address as well, recognizing the heavy burden veterans carry and those that still suffer as a result of their wartime experiences.
Kira Serna, a Brentwood psychotherapist who specializes in veteran issues, delivered the event’s keynote address and emphasized the huge challenge of treating veterans’ mental health issues.
“The answer to their grief is our love,” said Serna, who is also a veteran.
The Delta Detachment 1155 Marine Corps League honor guard closed the ceremony, firing their rifles in a traditional three-volley salute.